6.05.20 | A special edition featuring BIPOC creators & designers, and a note about diversifying our feeds as part of anti-racist work.
I don't usually write anything on these posts, because they are meant to let the art speak for itself. However, in the wake of a long and inspiring week, I want to note a few things about what I am attempting with this post, as well as my experience trying to highlight and support Black artists in the design community.
Firstly, I know there are mixed feelings about white folks only just now posting BIPOC content on their feeds/stories. I understand that and wholeheartedly agree that now is too late to make up for years of lacking. With this feature post, I want to make sure I am responsibly and thoughtfully celebrating art in a gesture of amplification and community-building rather than just for show. I am committed to supporting BIPOC artists by following them, featuring them, and purchasing from them. (I have not included a moodboard in hopes that this will equally highlight ALL the artists I've included.)
This brings me to my final point, which is how strange it has been to see a complete shift in the way that platforms like Instagram work. I am fairly new to this art and design space. I have always followed certain artists/creators on my personal account, but never to the degree that Mugglehug Studios does. When I first created my account in March, I was trying to find designers to follow to get inspiration and build a community, and I did find a lot of amazing artists. But what has become alarmingly apparent to me now is that when I was hitting follow on all these popular designers, calligraphers, potters, illustrators, and so on, that I was only ever getting recommendations to follow other white folks, or at least non-Black folks. There are so many wonderful and talented BIPOC artists that I simply was not getting exposure to as I built my following. They are doing work that is so similar to accounts I was following, but I was never pointed to them. The scariest part is that once I started following more Black artists this week, other Black artists started showing up as recommended follows. That threw me a bit, and I am still really disappointed in myself for not recognizing or realizing this sooner.
I know I could have been and should have been trying harder to find these artists in the first place. But think about all the people missing out on great art simply because Instagram has not placed Black art in the same category as non-Black art. We thought we were upset with the algorithm before... but this has given me an entirely new perspective on privilege in the online space. I have read a lot of posts about how this influx of new followers has given many Black artists mixed feelings, and I understand that. I hope that other privileged creators are willing to make this a permanent change rather than a trend, because I am so happy to have found more art to enjoy and artists to support.
If you have thoughts or want to start a conversation (around this post or in general!), feel free to DM me on Instagram and I'll be happy to respond. Stay safe out there, be strong, and keep on creating.
this week's highlights